The Hand of Perfect Wisdom

As I was preparing for our Wednesday night Bible Study, I came across this passage in J. C. Ryles’ Commentary on the Gospel of Luke. He was discussing Zachariah and Elizabeth’s childlessness when he wrote:

The grace of God exempts no one from trouble. “Righteous” as this holy priest and his wife were, they had a “crook in their lot.” Let us remember this, if we serve Christ, and let us count trial no strange thing. Let us rather believe that a hand of perfect wisdom is measuring out all our portion, and that when God chastises us, it is to make us “partakers of his holiness.” (Heb. 12:10) If afflictions drive us nearer to Christ, the Bible, and prayer, they are positive blessings. We may not think so now. But we shall think so when we wake up in another world.

As long as we Christians live on this side of “the new heavens and the new earth,” we will experience many of the troubles that come with living in a fallen world. Some will face a lifetime of illness, others will struggle with learning disabilities, some will see people they love betray them, others will battle depression, some will spend their lives “feeling” alone, others will wish there was a place where they could simply “get away,” and, in the end, if Christ does not return in our lifetime, we will all face the ultimate trial, death.

Yet, for the Christian, all of these struggles are, as Ryles says, measured out by “a hand of perfect wisdom” for God’s glory, and our eternal good. Of course, suffering is not pleasant, but it is a part of this world marred by sin, and our Sovereign God is in total control. He really does “cause all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose,” and we can take comfort in the fact that the sufferings we experience are not meaningless, but have an eternal purpose.

So, I would encourage you, as you face your trials, to remember something I read in the Scriptures this afternoon, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:15)

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